By Duncan @ DEVEL Golf
The Ryder Cup is almost upon us. The bookies have USA as this year’s favourites, despite their poor recent record against Europe. Losing the last 3 editions of the competition that started in 1927, the Americans are fired up to exact revenge.
Back then the competition was between the USA and players from Great Britain. However, a long losing streak saw the GB team enlarged to include players from Ireland and then their mainland European counterparts in 1979.
I'll say from the off that the inclusion of European players has undoubtedly enriched the competition. For a start, how many memorable moments did Seve give us in European team colours?
However, the emergence of young and talented GB&I players these past two years makes for an interesting debate as to whether a team without continental Europeans could defeat the Americans.
At the time of writing the top twelve GB&I players in the world golf rankings are (actual European Ryder Cup players in brackets where appropriate):
Paul Casey (Henrik Stenson)
Russell Knox (Sergio Garcia)
Shane Lowry (Rafa Cabrera Bello)
Luke Donald (Martin Kaymer)
Andrew Johnston (Thomas Pieters)
You may have noticed that seven of those twelve are already in the Ryder Cup team. The five "subs" in the list above are arguably no worse than the European players who will actually tee it up at Hazeltine. It would certainly be a close thing were the five subs to play instead of their counterparts in brackets.
Furthermore, when you consider that previous Ryder Cup stalwarts such as Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington aren’t in that team either, there's a strong argument that a British and Irish team could do just as well against the Americans.
What do you think? Could the GB&I team above beat the Americans? Share your thoughts with us on social media!
The Devel's Advocate is our resident golf blogger. With long experience of covering golf there aren't many issues he doesn't have an opinion on!